Today, it would serve us well to slow down a bit, catch our breath, and think upon the patience of God. We look at a world blanketed in unbelief, pulsing with immorality, boiling with outrage, and ringing with the noise of absurdity, so it is easy for us to acknowledge that God is very patient…with them, all those ridiculous people out there. However, we should probably acknowledge that there seems to be a lack of sober recognition with how patient He is with us. Better yet, with you and me. Listen to what the Psalmist wrote long ago about the Lord’s dealings with His own people.
“Many times He delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity. Nevertheless, He looked upon their distress, when He heard their cry. For their sake He remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” Psalm 106:43-45
Those who have been redeemed by God through grace and mercy in Jesus have received a glorious treasure. Vile offenders, guilty and condemned, we were sought out by the One whom we had offended. We were subsequently forgiven, cleansed and given the position of beloved sons and daughters in His own forever-family. That standing is more solid than the deepest granite on earth, and it cannot be diminished by the most minuscule fraction throughout the eternal ages to come. We have been made qualitatively new, as we are now one with God Himself through Jesus. Boggling the mind is the truth that we have the exact same equal acceptance with the Father as does His only begotten Son. The Son’s acceptance is eternal before the Father. Our acceptance is imputed to us through the Son. Because we are in Christ, we have no less security in the Father’s presence than does His only begotten Son. That is the degree to which God has received us. This is His unspeakable, immeasurable gift to us.
And we forget this stunning truth…and we forget Him, the One who lavished it upon us…dozens of time each and every day.
Sisters, you forget God when you talk about other women with your sly and slicing words. Brothers, we forget God when we fail to live and lead as men of humility and integrity. When Christian children resist their parents’ authority, they do so in amnesia of their Savior. Painful is the truth that we Christians can steal and curse and covet and lust and doubt and lie and fear and slander…add what you may to the list because, when we walk outside of the Holy Spirit, we can act as if we have never once knelt before the shadow of the cross. God help us, but we need to acknowledge that there is still the humbling possibility of deep rottenness in our bones.
This is why the ongoing patience of God is crucial for us.
I am grateful today that God is patient with me. His patience with me is teaching me to be patient with you and all others. When you and I are brought low because of our failures, stumbling, relapses, stubbornness and sins, we must cry to the God of all longsuffering, and reverently hold Him to His word to act patiently with us in the midst of our struggles. We must remember that He always remembers His covenant with us through Christ; we cannot afford to despair of our standing before Him when we sin. His grace must always appear larger to us than our transgressions, for it is, in reality, immeasurably greater and will always be so.
Go back and read the Psalmist’s words above and apply them to the area(s) of your struggle. Do not merely acknowledge that He is a patient God without also declaring that He is immeasurably patient with you. Do not praise Him for the attribute of His patience and then dishonor Him by being reluctant to rest your anxious soul in that vital provision of who God is toward you. You are no different than I, and we are both made of the same stuff as those rebellious Israelites of old to whose sin God responded with “the abundance of His steadfast love”. This moves me to hate my own sin even more, and to rest further in yielded relief that my God has provided all that I need for my imperfections. He has determined to make us righteous, and this He will do through the relentlessly patient work of the Holy Spirit. His patience with us is not an allowance to indulge our weaknesses but, rather, to have hope of finding victory over them. In the consummation of the ages you will stand before the glory of the Lamb, reflecting back to Him the beauty of His own holiness. Holiness is never sourced in us. It is imparted to us and then stewarded by us. Jesus Himself is always the source of our holiness. When we finally arrive in His presence, the Father will have completed the deep process which He once began in you at the moment of your conversion. It will be fully and immaculately finished. He will smile in satisfaction on the work of His hands. You will rejoice in heavenly ecstasy and be more convinced than ever of His love, power and His breathtaking patience.
Remember today that is where His patience is taking you. It will be there for you the whole way.
He intends to finish what He has begun in you.
He will not come up short.